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Please welcome back the fabulous Barbara Monajem!! Barbara is here to tell us about her latest book, Lady of the Flames!! And she will give away a copy to one of you! All you have to do is leave a comment saying you want the book.

Before we get to Barbara’s post, we’ll take a look at the lovely cover!

Lady of the Flames Cover LARGE EBOOK

Now to Barbara’s post.

And the moral of the story is….

I never meant to write a story with a moral! Not that I have any objection to fables and such, but that’s not how I think of a romance. A romance is centered around love and what that means to the hero and heroine, and what they have to overcome to get their happily ever after.

So it took me by surprise when reviewer Eileen Dandashi said Lady of the Flames has a moral. I’m paraphrasing her a little, but basically, it’s, “Don’t be in a hurry to believe gossip about someone you know and trust, even when the confidante is your closest friend.”

Um, yeah. A misunderstanding is bad enough, but when it’s due to gossip or downright lies, it’s harder to combat. Both Lord Fen, the hero, and Andromeda, the heroine, base their actions over a number of years on lies told by family and friends. Add a touch of magic, and more complications ensue!

(Anyone who knows my books also knows I love slipping in a little magic. Or in this case, a lot!)

Here’s the blurb:

Magic is fraught with peril—but so is love.

Lord Fenimore Trent’s uncanny affinity for knives and other sharp blades led to duels and murderous brawls until he found a safe, peaceful outlet by opening a furniture shop—an unacceptable occupation for a man of noble birth. Now Fen’s business partner has been accused of treason. In order to root out the real traitor, he may have to resort to the violent use of his blades once again.

Once upon a time, Andromeda Gibbons believed in magic. That belief faded after her mother’s death and vanished completely when Lord Fenimore, the man she loved, spurned her. Five years later, Andromeda has molded herself into a perfect—and perfectly unhappy—lady. When she overhears her haughty betrothed plotting treason, she flees into the London night—to Fen, the one man she knows she can trust. But taking refuge with him leads to far more than preventing treason. Can she learn to believe in love, magic, and the real Andromeda once again?

And an excerpt:

Years ago, she’d felt no need to talk when with Fen, but now it was uncomfortable, like conversing with a stranger. Then, they’d had more in common; now they lived in different worlds. She took a sip of coffee and ate a sausage roll. She sipped some more coffee. She gazed around the room and finally found something to say.

“Did you carve the figures on your looking-glass frame?” she said. As a boy, he had whittled constantly. “They seem so…familiar somehow.”

“They should,” he said with a sudden smile. “I carved it from my memories of the fairies and hobgoblins back home.”

“Fairies and hobgoblins?”

“At your father’s estate,” he said. “Surely you remember Cuff the bedchamber hob, and Heck the buttery spirit, and all the rest.”

“My mother told stories about them,” Andromeda said, nostalgia filling her again. “I must say, I like the way you’ve imagined them.”

Fen frowned at her, his smile fading, his eyes perplexed. “I didn’t imagine them,” he said. “I saw them.”

Andromeda rolled her eyes. “That sounds like something my mother would have said.”

“Because she saw them, too.”

Andromeda began to be annoyed. “Don’t be ridiculous, Fen. She made up stories based on tales she’d been told as a child.”

Fen shook his head. “You saw them when you were small. You saw Cuff and Heck and the others. We both did.”

“No,” Andromeda said. “We saw movement out of the corners of our eyes and said they were fairies, but we were just playing games.”

Fen’s expression was pained. “You really don’t remember, do you?”

“There’s nothing to remember,” she insisted, wolfing down another cream puff. “As a matter of fact, that happened to me this morning. I had the impression that one of the creatures on the looking-glass winked at me, but of course it didn’t really do so.”

“What a pity,” Fen said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“That you’ve forgotten. That wink was Cuff’s way of saying good-day to you. He’s somewhere hereabouts. He’s the only one I didn’t have to carve from memory, because he came with me when I left home.” He glanced toward the tin cup and plate by the wall. “He ate the bread and milk I put out, and I gave him the rest of your brandy, too.”

She couldn’t stand any more of this. “Fen, stop this nonsense! We’re in danger from traitors and spies who murder people, and all you can talk about is hobgoblins.”

He went on as if she hadn’t spoken. “I wondered why he came with me when I left, but it’s because he enjoys human company.” He grimaced. “Your father and aunt aren’t his sort of humans. I thought you were, and so did your mother, but evidently you’re not.”

That struck her like a blow. “What do you mean, my mother thought I was. Was what?”

“She had a sizeable amount of fairy blood, so she thought you must have some, too—but perhaps she was wrong.” He paused. “I know I have some. It’s not uncommon for children to see fairies, but I didn’t lose that when I grew up. Not only that, it’s their magic that guides my knives and tools, and inspires me when it comes to furniture design.”

She couldn’t bear it. “Stop it! You’re as—as mad as my mother was.”

“She wasn’t mad, Andromeda.” He sighed. “And whether or not you see the fairies, they’re still here.”

She put her hands to her ears and shut her eyes. After all the chaos of yesterday, this was too much. When he said and did nothing, she opened her eyes again. “Why did she discuss me with you?”

“Who else was there to speak to? Your father and aunt, although worthy people, wouldn’t have understood. They already found her far too strange.”

This was true—but it was because Mama’s mind was unbalanced.

“She knew I cared for you,” Fen said.

His eyes were kind but dispassionate; his use of the past tense meant that he didn’t care anymore, except perhaps as an old friend. Why couldn’t she become accustomed? Every single reminder hurt.

“You believed in them at the time your mother died,” he said. “She gave you that heart-shaped locket, didn’t she?” It still hung at her breast, but she resisted the urge to clasp it in her hand.

“I was nine years old. I believed in many foolish things then,” she retorted. Such as magic, but a household run by her aunt was no longer vibrant with promise or belief in anything much at all. And then, when she was seventeen, Fen had destroyed what little belief remained. She didn’t try to keep the bitterness from her voice. “I learned soon enough what utter nonsense it all was.”

He watched her, head cocked to one side, as if she were some strange, incomprehensible creature. “As a matter of interest, when did you stop believing?”

How dare he ask such a personal question? “What business is that of yours?”

“None, I suppose.” He shrugged and stood. “Stay away from the windows. I’ll see if my valet has found you something to wear.” He took the last of the beignets, set it on a saucer, and left it on the floor by the wall.

As if prying into her business wasn’t enough, now he was mocking her. Did he seriously expect her to believe that a hobgoblin would eat the beignet? Anger stirred and grew within her. “If you must know, it was at the same time I gave up other foolishness, such as believing in love!”

Fen stared at her, his expression incredulous. He left the room, slamming the door behind him. By what right was he upset? Not content with playing stupid games with her, did he really not remember what he’d done to her five years ago?

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About Barbara.

BarbaraMonajem300x400I grew up on the west coast of Canada among the mountains and cedar trees. I’m not much into putting down roots–I love moving around–but roots have minds of their own. Mine go deep into those mountains and are entwined with the cedars, and no matter where I live, there’s a part of me that always, always longs for home. It’s a magic place which never lets go, and that’s all there is to it. I’m pretty sure that magic is what started me writing paranormals, because I wrote my first at only eight years old.

I lived in Oxford, England for a year when I was twelve, and I have roots there, too, but they’re mostly cultural. My ancestors are English, with some Scots and Irish farther back. Oxford is heavy with the magic of centuries. I loved it there–everything from playing twosy-ball against the school wall, to helping out at an archaeological dig, to spending my pocket money in Blackwell’s bookshop. I think it’s that year in England, coupled with all the Brit lit I read as a child, that inspired me to write historicals.  My foray into teen melodrama, best forgotten, also sprang from that year in England.

I spent several years in Montreal, and now and then I miss the winters–they’re long, but nothing beats the cold, bright, silent magic of a winter’s night. And the French spoken all around me–I miss that, too. Sometime during the years in Quebec and on into the move to Georgia, I started writing paranormals again, in the form of fantasy for my kids. This resulted in my middle grade novel, The Secret of the Stolen Mandolin.

I live in Georgia and spend a lot of time in south Louisiana, so now I have roots in the southern U.S. as well. I love the dense, humid air (well, usually), the lightning bugs and kudzu (so spooky), the live oaks and resurrection fern. On my first trip to Louisiana, I succumbed to the magic of New Orleans. I love it all: Bourbon Street, beignets and the levee, the Mardi Gras parades, the spicy food and hot nights, the dark and lovely moods of the French Quarter, and the swamps to the north. New Orleans is my inspiration for the funky little town of Bayou Gavotte, with its fetish clubs… and vampires… and who knows what else.

 

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Yes, I know it’s Sunday, but Cheryl caught in a transportation strike and could not get her information to me until yesterday. Also, I promised you that I’d put the post up as soon as I had her stuff. So here we go. As always, Cheryl will be giving away a copy of her book to one of you who leaves a comment saying you want it.

First the cover!

Duchess by Mistake

Now the blurb.

Another of Cheryl Bolen’s classic marriage-of-convenience stories

An innocent visit to the Duke of Aldridge’s to request a donation for her war widows puts Lady Elizabeth Upton in the midst of a most shocking scandal. . .

The Duke of Aldridge offers for his best friend’s sister, Lady Elizabeth Upton, after a mix-up sends her to his bedchamber—just as he’s emerging from his bath. She most certainly does not want to force the duke’s hand, but how can she bear the shame her scandalous behavior has cast upon her dear brother, the Marquess of Haverstock?

Once she agrees to marry her childhood heartthrob, Elizabeth realizes she wants nothing more than to win her husband’s love. But capturing his heart is no easy task when former loves threaten to destroy the fragile bonds of their marriage.

And last, but not least, an excerpt.

Some time after donning a dress which matched the periwinkle colour of her eyes and topping it with matching pelisse suitable for calling at Aldridge House, Lady Elizabeth Upton found herself knocking upon the door of the Duke of Aldridge’s fine house on Berkeley Square. She wondered how many times Charles had passed through this door during his two and thirty years. Since she had only come out three years previously, she had never had the opportunity to pay a call upon the duke, owing to his long absence from England.

The white-haired butler who answered her knock looked as if he’d been in the employ of the Aldridges for at least two generations. He quickly offered her a tight smile and spoke before she had the chance to offer her card. “Please come in. His grace awaits. If you will just follow me up the stairs.”

She supposed with this being the duke’s first day back, he was entertaining callers in the drawing room. She had not considered that she would not have him all to herself. It would be difficult to beg him for the significant donation in a room full of people. Her brother had once said the duke did not like to have his charities acknowledged, preferring anonymity.

Her gaze lifted to the massive chandelier that glistened above, then she began to follow the stooped-over butler as he mounted the stairs, his movements slowed by age. All the way up the impressive, iron banistered staircase portraits of long-dead Aldridges stood almost one on top of the other and seemed to be staring at her.

To her surprise, when they reached the first floor he did not stop but continued mounting stairs to the next level. Though her experience with ducal residences was limited, she was unaccustomed to finding a drawing room so far removed from the home’s entrance. In most of the houses with which she was familiar, the third level was reserved for bedchambers.

They reached the third level. It was slightly less formal than the second level, actually looking remarkably like the third–bedchamber–level at Haverstock House. The butler turned to the right and shuffled along another corridor until he reached the first paneled and gilded door. It was closed. He teetered to a stop and turned to face her with a somber countenance. “You will find his grace in here.” Then he began to retrace his steps.

She drew in a breath, reached for the door handle, and opened it.

She heard a splashing sound before the door was fully open. How peculiar. When she had clear view of the room, she gasped. There in its center, framed by the fireplace behind him, the Duke of Aldridge was emerging from his bath. His long, glistening, gloriously formed body was completely naked.

In her entire life Lady Elizabeth Upton had never seen a naked man in the flesh. Though her first instinct should have been to run screaming from the chamber, she was frozen to the spot, unable to remove her gaze from . . . the manly part. And so much more. From his wide shoulders along his burnished skin and muscled limbs, the dark-haired duke exuded a masculinity like nothing she had ever seen.

A flood of memories of her former adoration of this man many years ago walloped her. She felt the heat climbing into her cheeks and knew she should flee from the profligate duke. Yet, like a compulsion to watch a grim sight not suitable for female sensibilities, she was incapable of turning away.

“You’re not Belle!” he said, snatching his toweling and covering the lower portion of his statue-worthy body. His voice held a note of incredulity.

No doubt, Belle was a lady of the demimonde. What a wicked man he was! To think, his first day back in the kingdom he chose to spend with a woman of that sort.

At the sound of his voice, she realized how shameless she must appear. And how very improper it was for her to be there. She came to her senses, let out a full-fledged scream, turned on her heel, and fled down the stairs.

And came face to face with her brother.

“Haverstock!” she cried.

His brows lowered with concern. “What’s the matter, Lizzie?”

She tossed her head back in the direction of the duke’s private chamber. “That man! He’s thoroughly debauched.” Then she scurried down the stairs. Never again would she come to this . . . this temple of profligacy.

***

Aldridge was having the devil of a time trying to remember where he had seen that chit before. No doubt, she was a lady of Quality. He’d likely scared the poor thing senseless. There had obviously been a serious misunderstanding.

As soon as he called for Lawford, Haverstock came striding into Aldridge’s bedchamber. When he saw that Aldridge was without clothing, his facial expressions thundered. “What in the hell were you doing with my sister?”

Oh, damn! That’s why she looked familiar! The duke grimaced. “It’s not what you think.”

Haverstock’s gaze raked over him from the top of his wet head down the full length of his nakedness. “Oh, isn’t it? My god, Aldridge, she’s an innocent! How could you?”

By then Aldridge’s valet had come striding in with fresh clothing for his master, and Aldridge began to dress. “It seems I owe her an apology. I assure you I have no dishonorable designs on your sister.”

Haverstock regarded him thoughtfully for a long, silent moment. “Then are you saying your intentions toward Elizabeth are honorable?”

“But of course. What do you take me for?”

“It appears I shall now take you for my brother-in-law.”

Buy links.

Amazon ~ Barnes & NobleSmashwords ~ iTunes ~ Kobo

 

About Cheryl.

Cheryl BolenCheryl Bolen is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of over 20 romances, both historical and contemporary mystery. Many of her books have placed in contests, including the Daphne du Maurier (romantic suspense) and have been translated into ten languages. She was Notable New Author in 1999. In 2006 she won the Holt Medallion, Best Historical, and in 2012 she won Best Historical in the International Digital Awards and she’s had four other titles place in that competition. Her 2011 Christmas novella was named Best Novella in the Romance Through the Ages. She invites readers to www.CherylBolen.com, or her blog, www.cherylsregencyramblings.wordpress.co or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cheryl-Bolen-Books/146842652076424.

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Happy Sunday!! Let’s start with the winners!

Devilish DukeCongratulations to Bevieann for winning Vicky Dreilings’s, book What a Devilish Duke Desires!

 

And to Louisa Cornell for winning a copy of Erin Satie’s book, Lover’s Knot!The-Lovers-Knot-Ebook

 

 

 

 

 

Now I have a surprise for you!! I received a sneak peek of the cover art for, Three Weeks to Wed, the first book in my next series. It will be available in mass paperback in April 2016. This has to be the best cover yet!! Sneep Peak Three Weeks to Wed

No blurb yet, but here is a short excerpt.

Grace swallowed. Maybe now he’d understand. “My lord . . .” His mouth re-captured hers. Her tongue tangled with his, savoring his taste and the soft caresses. Once again his wicked hands lit fires under her skin.

He lifted his head and her lips followed. “Will you do me the honor of being my wife?”

Grace fought herself to let go of him and back up, yet he refused to release her hands. “My lord, thank you for your very kind offer, but I find I cannot accept.”

His expression rapidly changed from a humorous to confused and then severe. “Why?”

She closed her eyes and fought to steady her voice. “All those children, they are my brothers and sisters.”

Frowning, he shook his head as if trying to make sense of what she’d said. “Very well. Many families have a number of children. What does that have to do with anything? I have sisters myself. I’ve been hoping you liked children.

Tears stung her eyes as Grace bit her lip. This was the hardest thing she’d ever had to do, but do it she must. Her throat tightened, threatening to choke her. “I am—I am their guardian. I will never give up that position.”

Wrenching her hands from his, she fled the room, closing the door with a snap behind her.

Matt stared down at his empty hands and then at the closed door. He found a chair and sat. Numbness washed over him. How many children were there? He should have counted, but it never occurred to him that she . . . He put his elbows on his knees and dropped his head into his hands.

Guardian? She’s their guardian? How could that be?

He’d lost track of how long he sat there trying to think when the door opened.

The youngest girl walked in, a mulish cast was about her mouth, and her determined chin trembled a bit. “You made Grace cry.”

That was fair. He felt like crying as well. “I didn’t mean to. I meant to make her happy.”

The child creased her brow and nodded wisely. “Made a mull of it, did you?”

Now to the boat. We should finally have our weather enclosure next week. That will mean that I don’t have to grab the computer and run inside every time it rains. Last Monday, we moved to Christmas cove.

Christmas Cove

We’ll be here until the 9th then we’ll head down island for a couple of weeks. It’s a fun anchorage. Most boats are here for a couple of days, then leave. We have also seen a number of charter boats. There is even a pizza boat.

Pizza Boat

Yesterday, Hubby reminded me to take pictures of the fish. Unfortunately, they are not as clear as I would have liked.

2015-02-28 17.33.11

2015-02-28 17.32.58

We are still waiting for our Garmin wind part. The post office appears to have misplaced it.

What’s been happening with you this week. Who has been snowed on?

Ella

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Happy Sunday!! Let start with the winner of Andrea Stein’s book, Fortune’s Horizon. AndreaKStein_FortunesHorizon200Congratulations to Eileen!

 

As you know, we were a marina in Red Hook for about a week. Before we left, this guy came to visit.

Egret 2

We also had a booby land on the dock.

Boobie

We left the dock and anchored in Red Hook Harbor, but with the wake from the ferry boats, and a north swell, that didn’t last long. We are now in Secret Harbor.

Secret Harbor

Secret harbor 4

When we leave here we’ll either go to Christmas Cove or the British Virgin Islands until our new dodger (windshield) is finished. We’re also getting new sunshades and cushions for the cockpit.

Book #8 in The Marriage Game has been sent to my editor. It still doesn’t have a name yet. But I did get the cover for Book #7, Lady Beresford’s Lover.

lady beresford's lover_ebook

Blurb.

Ella Quinn’s bachelors are quite sure of what they want in life—and love—until the right woman opens their eyes…

After a painful heartbreak, Rupert, the handsome young Earl of Stanstead, has decided that when it comes to love, avoidance is best. Until he meets a woman who makes him forget his plan—and remember his longing for a wife and family. Yet he senses that she too has been hurt, though she attempts to hide her feelings—and more—in the most baffling and alluring way. Intrigued, Rupert is willing to play along, if winning her is the prize…

Crushed by her late husband’s scorn, Vivian, Countess of Beresford, believes she is monstrously undesirable. Sadly childless, she has moved to London resigned to a solitary life. Still, when she encounters Rupert at a masquerade ball, her disguise as Cleopatra emboldens her. Convinced he doesn’t recognize her, she begins an after-hours affair with him, always in costume—while allowing him to innocently court the real her by day. But when Rupert makes a shocking choice, will Vivian be able to handle the truth?…

So, what have you been doing this week?

Ella

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Happy Sunday! We have two winners to announce this week. First congratulations to Glenda for winning Julia Tagan’s Stages of Desire, Stages of Desire cover medand to Neva for winning Wendy LaCapra’s giveaway of Elizabeth Essex’s book Almost a Scandal!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had a great time on the Florida RWA chapter’s Sun in the Fun Cruise. They were a lovely group of people. I was surprised at how many husband’s were there. I also got to know Julia Quinn. We are actually the same height, but she was wearing heels.

me and JQ

Aside from meals, I pretty much stayed in my cabin writing. I cannot tell you how glorious it was to have three days of almost totally uninterrupted writing and editing. I managed to get through most of the last book in The Marriage Game!

Unfortunately, I returned to St. Thomas to an upset husband. Magen’s Bay was working out well for me, but not for him. So we moved to American Yacht Harbor where we are working our way through more repairs.

Here are some pictures of our new, temporary home. He is much happier now that he has people to talk with and not just a wife you gets angry when he interrupts my writing.

Feathered friend at AYH

AYH 2AYH

I’m off to finish the book. Here is an excerpt of the book I’m working on.

An hour later, Meg, Damon, Georgiana, Sarah, and Alan were practicing their lines for Twelfth Night, when Benson appeared. “Miss Featherton, my lord, the Duke of—”

“Stand aside, man. I told you I don’t need to be announced.” A tall gentleman, who looked to be in his late sixties, pushed the butler aside.

The man’s high-handed rudeness and lack of good breeding was inexcusable. She clamped her lips together to stop herself from engaging in a similar display of incivility. Even without the beginning of the title, Meg would have known exactly who he was. His resemblance to his son was unmistakable. His Grace of Somerset had just thoroughly aroused her fury, and he was about to be taken down a notch or two.

The children lapsed into what had to be stunned silence. They had probably never heard anyone speak to Benson with such distain.

Damon stood, his countenance a mask. If not for the tick in his jaw, she would not have known how angry he was, and she fought keep her temper under control. A fight she might very well lose.

Meg took the hand he held out, rose, curtseyed, and raised a brow just as she had seen the dowager duchess do. No one could suppress pretentions and bad behavior better and more quickly than her grace. “Somerset, I presume.” She glanced at Benson. “I shall apologize for his grace’s conduct as it is clear he will not. You may leave us now.”

 

 

Tell me what you did while I was gone.

Ella

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Please welcome historical author Julia Tagan back to the blog! Julia is here to tell us about her latest book, Stages of Desire. She is also giving away a copy of the book to one of you. All you have to do is leave a comment saying you want it.

First the intriguing cover.

Stages of Desire cover med

The blurb:

To be or not to be—in love…

As a ward of the Duchess of Dorset, Harriet can hardly expect more from a match than the ringing endorsement of “from what I’ve heard, the man is financially secure and his teeth are quite regular.” After all, she’s only the lowly daughter of traveling actors, not the actual daughter of the duchess.

William Talbot, Earl of Abingdon is set to marry the duchess’s daughter. After his elder brother’s scandalous death, his family’s reputation is paramount, and he’ll allow nothing to damage it again. But when Harriet disappears to save her father from debtor’s prison, the scandal threatens William and his intended’s family.

The simple task of fetching the duchess’s runaway ward turns complicated when Harriet insists on traveling with her father’s acting company. William’s forced to tag along, and finds himself entranced. The stage transforms Harriet into a free-spirited, captivating beauty. But someone’s been sabotaging the theater company, and instead of facing scandal, William and Harriet discover a threat not only to their growing passion, but to their lives…

And an excerpt:

London, 1808

“From what I’ve heard, the man is financially secure and his teeth are quite regular,” announced Eleanor, Duchess of Dorset.

Harriet Farley, the duchess’s ward, smiled wanly, trying to be as polite as she could under the circumstances. The ballroom brimmed with young women coiffed and adorned to perfection and men whose gazes darted toward the prettiest. Although normally Harriet preferred lingering along the perimeter, tonight she was to be introduced to a promising suitor, handpicked by the duchess herself. For the first time, she’d take part in the ritual of courtship instead of observing from the duchess’s side. Her moment had come.

Then why did she feel like a hare caught in a trap?

The aroma of Pear’s soap and perfume wafted through the crowd. Harriet dabbed her handkerchief under the lace trim of the neckline of her gown but stopped when the duchess furrowed her brow. After six years of living under the same roof, Harriet was keenly attuned to the woman’s slightest sign of irritation.

“I’m sure he’s lovely, Your Grace,” said Harriet. “I trust your judgment when it comes to these matters.”

The duchess shrugged and snapped open her fan, obviously pleased. Harriet’s guardian had a regal profile as would befit the wife of the Duke of Dorset, even though his sudden death three years earlier had taken its toll on the duchess’s loveliness. The family’s recent financial woes had no doubt exacerbated the deep lines etched on her forehead. Harriet could never repay their generosity, taking her in when she was twelve years old, yet now she could do something to help. Or so she hoped.

The duchess scanned the room like a sea captain looking for signs of land. “We’ll wait until Marianne’s betrothal is settled, and you’ll be next.”

“Of course, Your Grace.” Harriet wiggled her toes and winced. The first order of business once she was married would be to buy slippers that fit, not ones intended to make her too-large feet appear dainty.

“You’ve been an agreeable companion to Lady Marianne, and now, if luck has it, you’ll be an agreeable wife to the sixth son of a baron.”

“I’m excited to meet Mr. Hopplehill.” Harriet swayed back slightly, so her heels, not her toes, supported her body weight.

“Act at ease, my girl. You stand so stiffly one would think you’re a marble sculpture.”

She shifted her weight forward, trying to comply.

“Now you’re slumping. Oh, for heaven’s sake. You must have picked up some semblance of proper conduct from Marianne.”

Tears stung her eyes and she took a calming breath. She hadn’t been born into the ton, and evenings like these only reinforced her sense of inadequacy. The other girls were like lap dogs, brushed and pampered and pirouetting for biscuits, while she was more of the loyal hunting dog, happier loping across fields and braying.

Braying?

The heat must be affecting her thinking.

Buy Links:

Amazon ~ B&NApple ~ Kobo

 

Most of us think that malaria strikes only in super-hot climates like India and Africa. But in Regency-era England, where my romance Stages of Desire takes place, malaria was still rampant in the swamps and coastland. Even worse, the standard treatment at the time, made from the bark of the cinchona tree, tasted awful and wasn’t all that effective.

So when I decided to make my hero, William, Earl of Abingdon, a trained physician (he came into the title when his brother unexpectedly died), I also gave his dear sister malaria. Mean of me, I know. But William’s desperate to find a better treatment, and, luckily for him, the early 1800s were chock full of innovations in medicine.

In real life, two Frenchmen discovered how to extract quinine from cinchona in 1820, resulting in a much more effective and concentrated treatment. Taking quite a bit of artistic license, William teams up with an apothecary to figure out the process. When it came down to researching the precise details, I scoured technical papers that left me scratching my head before turning to my chemical engineer father for a lesson in “Extraction for Dummies.”

I loved the idea of mashing up history and fiction to give the plot a jot of reality. What innovations or discoveries have you enjoyed reading about in historical romances?

About Julia:

Julia Tagan smallJulia Tagan is based in New York City, where she worked as an actress before venturing into writing. A journalist by training, she enjoys weaving actual events and notorious individuals into her historical romances. Her favorite activities include walking her dog in Central Park, scouring farmers’ markets for the perfect tomato, and traveling to foreign cities in search of inspiration.

 

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Please welcome historical author Mariana Gabrielle to the blog. Mariana is here to tell you about her new book, Royal Regard! And she is giving a way a copy to one of you. All you have to do is tell her you want it.

As always, we’ll start with the lovely cover.

Royal-Regard-cover-500x750

 

Then the blurb.

After fifteen years roaming the globe, the Countess of Huntleigh returns to England with her dying husband. She soon finds herself plagued by terrible troubles: a new title, estate, and sizable fortune; marked attentions from the marriage mart; the long-awaited reunion with her loving family; and a growing friendship with King George IV.

Settling into her new life, this shy-but-not-timid, not-so-young lady faces society’s censure, the Earl’s decline, false friends with wicked agendas, and the singular sufferings of a world-wise wallflower. Guided by her well-meaning husband, subject to interference by a meddlesome monarch, she must now choose the dastardly rogue who says he loves her, the charming French devil with a silver tongue, or the quiet country life she has traveled the world to find.

And an excerpt.

“I think you are making a mockery of me, Sir. You are flirting shamelessly at every party, and now right in front of my husband. You must desist.”

“Nick, please—Wellbridge, if you prefer—and you are entirely correct. I would much rather flirt with you behind his back.” He leaned in closer to her ear, “When we are in front of him, I am afraid your sweet blushes will give us away.” The scent of flowers rose from her hair. Lavender. Maybe lilacs. Maybe both. He breathed deeply. Definitely both. “I cannot allow you to expose our secret, Lady Huntleigh, for I have sinful designs on you.”

Bella’s slipper caught on the waxed floor, throwing her off-balance. Taking advantage of the opportunity, he caressed her barely bared collarbone. She nearly fell, pulling away, so he held her waist more firmly, drawing her closer to encourage her shivers and gooseflesh.

“You said you had no designs on me! You swore by the Knight’s Creed!”

He leaned in to murmur, “I am not a knight, my sweet.”

With a bit less wallflower and a bit more worldly woman, she laughed, “Sir Satyr, I’m sure, charter member of the Order of Rakehells, pledged to lead me down the path to depravity.”

“You’ve caught me.”

He stared down at her ripe mouth, wishing they weren’t in the middle of a crowded ballroom.

Buy Links:

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About Mariana.

Mari Pic2Mariana Gabrielle is a pseudonym for Mari Christie, a mainstream historical and Regency romance writer. She is also a professional writer, editor, and graphic designer with twenty years’ experience and a Bachelor’s in Writing from the University of Colorado Denver, summa cum laude. She lives in Denver, Colorado with two kittens who have no respect at all for writing time.

 

 

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